“How we treat the environment begins with how we treat each other”
John Francis
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Posts Tagged ‘TerraDoc’

What were you doing on April 30, 2011?

Did you know the last Saturday of April is officially called World Healing Day? Over the years, it has been called several things: Tai Chi Day, Qi Gong Day, World Yoga Day, or World Peace Day. Whatever you call it, it’s brillant! Hundreds of thousands of people around the world all focusing on healing and peace all at the same time, all day! Fantastic, count me in!

Resources say that the idea of World Healing Day grew out of a Princeton University research project that found on days of national or international crisis there was a measurable difference in computer functioning. They were originally looking at the tradegy of Princess Diana and the world’s collective emotional response. The grief, anger, shock, disappointment, and disbelief, believed Princeton researchers, caused the energetic fluctuations.

From that research and other days of tragedy grew the idea of focused emotion, or collective consciousness to positively affect the world’s people and events. The idea is simple, What if a large number of people around the globe all focused their energy on Peace and healing for a whole day, could we possibly make a difference?

In reality Jan and John Price held the first World Healing Day on December 31, 1986. According to their website over 500 million people participated around the globe. Unfortunately, the Price’s study subjects and seminars are a bit too esoteric for the ‘real world’ and their original concept has been highjacked by the new World Healing But thankfully, for us, the idea has stuck and each year participation in World Healing Day increases.  Hopefully we can make a difference in the world. Nothing but world peace will do.

This year I attended a Qi Gong conference in Orlando, FL. called, “Qi Revolution”. Jeff Primack is the mastermind behind the 4 day convention that just may revolutionize Qi Gong and healing in the West! He has set up a foundation called Suprmeme Science Qi Gong. They teach Qi Gong and food healing to large groups of people across the world. For Earth Day (April 22 annually), David Beaudry, one of the foundation’s Level 3 Facilitators, attened an event in Los Angeles. He taught Qi Gong to 6000 at risk high school students. It was such a hit, LA county is discussing how to incorporate Qi Gong classes into the school district’s curriculum. Go to to learn more about the fantastic work Supreme Science Qi Gong is doing around the globe.

I don’t know how to tell you about my experience at the convention. It was amazing, grounding, moving, and very spiritual. I spent 4 days devoted to self reflective movement, stress relief activities, and Qi building. I listened better than I have ever listened. I did the best yoga I have ever done, the most fluid, flexible, and open yoga. And I felt more internal heat and energy movement than I have felt beofre. It is amazing to enter a room without furniture, just yoga mats, with 2000 like minded people, quiet your internal dialogue and hear everything! You can actually feel the words and the music sink into your body. I wish I could do it everyday! You have to try it yourself. Hopefully one day I can help organize and lead such an experience. Would you come?

Next year World Healing Day is April 28, 2012. What will you do?

Qi gong is the Chinese martial art form of moving, collecting, and storing Qi. It is more static than Tai Chi, which is one of the slowest moving of the martial arts. In any Qi Gong class you should expect to stand still for most of the class, feet firmly grounded into the earth. This grounding is actually part of the way you assist Qi building within your body. I will be writing a series of articles to introduce you to Qi Gong and it’s healing abilities. Look for new articles to learn more about how you can help yourself become more healthy and vibrant than you ever expected.

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” – Old Greek Proverb

Spring is in the air! Everything is seething with life and energy! Limbs are filling up with vibrant green leaves, flowers are poking their heads out of long empty stalks, and the birds’ squawking is like a new year’s celebration. Spring is the season of Wood. The Wood Element belongs to the Liver and Gallbladder. Its color is green, taste sour, sound shouting, direction East, it feeds the tendons and moistens the eyes. The Liver represents planning. The Gallbladder houses decision making. Together this Yin/Yang pair propels us forward; as does the Spring bring forth the shoots, buds and flowers.

Spring is the birth of Yang energy, the reawakening after Winter. Wood energy is forceful, vigorous, warming and expansive. It is the activating energy that overcomes inertia. Its movement is upwards and outwards. The Wood element brings a sense of hope, renewal, transformation, new beginnings, rebirth and reanimation. When Wood energy is healthy you are patient, forgiving, insightful and relaxed.

You’ll know when your Wood energy is out of balance when you have one sided headaches, stiff neck and shoulders, heartburn, muscle twitches or joints that feel out of place. If you are feeling overwhelmed by time constraints, pressure to complete your list, or angry because things aren’t going as planned, sit on a park bench, take 10 deep breathes, counting each inhale and exhale with your eyes closed. Open your eyes and soak in the colors around you, the noises of nature and the scent of spring. Tell yourself that all is as it should be and there is plenty of time to accomplish everything. Do this as often as necessary.

Wood energy is healthiest and environmental stress lowest when there is balance between today’s decision making and tomorrow’s vision. Visualize yourself in 5 years, laying out a broad course of action to get there and making decisions each day to bring those ideas to life which is the secret of Wood energy. The power of Wood energy is the ability to manifest your dreams. See yourself as you want to be, be creative, plan, and the energy of Wood will carry you towards your destiny.

We had our first spring rain today. The month of March was exceptionally dry in the Tampa Bay area. Today’s rain has washed away the pollen that has stained the cars, the tree buds that have draped the windows and the dirt that has coated everything for the last 30 days. It makes me think about the element Wood and what Spring has to teach us.

The emotion of Wood energy is hostility. Hostility is expressed as impatience, cynicism, competitiveness, self-centeredness or an exaggerated response to challenging situations. However, anger and depression are the most common emotions attributed to the Wood element. Hostility, anger, and depression are the most harmful emotions to the body, the organs, and related systems. Impatience, expressing anger or getting upset about uncontrollable circumstances activates the flight or fight response and release cortisol into the body. Prolonged excess cortisol levels weaken the body’s ability to regulate itself. Research involving patients with various autoimmune diseases is showing that cortisol dysregulation just may be the beginning of the autoimmune response. Healing these emotions begins with managing your control issues and releasing your attachment to outcomes.

The lesson of Wood is patience. If you learn to lessen the pressure of time constraints, develop empathy for others, practice smiling and even laugh at yourself, you help your body control cortisol levels, promoting a healthier you.

So, next time you find yourself tapping your foot, losing your temper, about to yell at the person behind the counter that doesn’t care about the last 10 minutes of your lunch hour, take a breath, smile and laugh, just a little, at yourself, let the person behind you go first and trust that everything will be okay. Not only will you feel better, but your body will be healthier!

After 4 years of living in Florida I have finally found a Kula.

Sometime in November, a friend introduced me to IRB Yoga studio. She had not practiced yoga before, but was looking for something new and challenging. Three of my coworkers/employees/friends and I started going on a regular basis. I practice in a class every Sunday, but they practice as often as they can manage, thanks to the monthly unlimited pass. Since attending their first class in November, the three of them now practice yoga three or four days a week, sometimes taking two or three classes a day! Now that’s enthusiasm!

I have practiced yoga off and on for over 10 years for a natural remedy for stress and this is my favorite studio and my favorite class, ever. Being a new studio they are still working out schedules and teachers, etc., but none of it matters. Every teacher has been excellent. My current teacher has just begun an hour and a half Ashtanga, power series class. It is amazing, deeply challenging and so much fun! In just one class she has opened me to a whole new yoga, which I am so excited to get to know.
The best part is that the four of us, coworkers, have bonded over sweaty mats and fumbling legs. We often take a moment out of our day to discuss a pose, a class or a yoga wish. We work in a medical office with about twenty other women, all with varying levels of fitness. Although there are a couple of women that have done yoga in the past, the majority have never attempted a yoga pose or seen a vinyasa. Our enthusiasm has begun to spread, and there is talk of eight or nine of us joining a class on Tuesday, given by none other than my favorite Ashtanga teacher!
I couldn’t be more excited about my new yoga kula and the spark it has given to me and my coworkers. Here’s hoping you find yours!

Winter is the season of Water and the element of the kidneys and the urinary bladder. The direction is north, taste-salty, color-black/blue and sense-hearing. Water represents will and endurance, as well as faith and trust. Water energy requires rest, quiet and stillness in order to be healthy. As a bear hibernates in winter, so must we rest, withdraw and seek the space to renew our deepest reserves.

The Kidney controls the ears, bones and the brain. When the water energy of the kidney is out of balance, you’ll see lower back pain, knee or ankle problems, edema, tinnitus, or memory loss. The Kidney system is also the seat of the hormones and the loss of Kidney Yin is seen in menopause.

The emotion of Water is fear. When healthy, fear keeps us safe. Well adapted Water energy allows us to venture forth into unknown territories with attentive listening and wisdom to succeed. If the water element is out of balance or undernourished, we are afraid to move forward, we hibernate within ourselves waiting for a sign that it is safe to emerge.

The energy of Water is about trust, faith and wisdom. To be healthy, Water energy requires the development of trust in self and others with faith that everything will find a secure and peaceful ending. Endurance, persistence, will and our deepest reservoir of energy are drawn up to overcome any obstacle and navigate any change. Tapping into the Water energy gives you the courage to try, even when the outcome is unknowable and the path is dark.

Chinese Medicine proposes that the keys to health and graceful aging lie in the ease in which you adapt to the changes and challenges presented to you throughout your life.

Chinese Medicine is the ultimate “green” medicine. The basic philosophies and treatment principles are about sustainability, about watching, revering, and replicating the natural wisdom that surrounds us. As the seasons turn and the earth changes and adapts, so must we.

Five Element Theory is one of the backbones of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The Elements: Wood, Earth, Fire, Metal, and Water, generate and control each other. They are the basis of life as we know it. Disaster, or disease, results when one of the elements is out of balance. Five Element Theory describes and defines the connections throughout the human body and the natural world. It delves into the imbalances that we find ourselves in and the tools to bring ourselves back into a healthy state. For TCM practitioners balance is the key to all of life.

Each element has a season, organs systems, tastes, emotions, mental states, and spiritual qualities. When in balance all is right in the world and in your body. When overlooked, overstressed, or overfed illness, pain, and unhealthy aging result.

Each season I will be sharing more about the corresponding Element. The ‘Five Element Health’ section will focus on the current season and each week give tips, insight, and guidance to help you return to and stay in balance within that element.

Autumn is the season of Metal and the element of the lungs and large intestine. The direction is west, color-white, taste-pungent, and sound-weeping. Metal represents respect and acceptance.

The emotion of the lung is grief. I have met many patients with lung disease that have an unexpressed, unresolved grief. Healthy grieving is a necessary part of our existence.

The large intestine is about releasing old toxic stuff. It’s not just about releasing unhealthy food and drink or other chemicals that enter our body, the large intestine (ref: stress constipation relief) has the job of releasing all unhealthy thoughts, emotions, and energy that we take on or hold on to throughout our lives.

Metal is associated with father energy. Most people that have issues keeping the metal element in balance do not have a healthy picture of their relationship with their father. They have not come to accept the innate respect and love they deserve from their father, nor have they forgiven him his humanity and imperfection. Once acceptance and forgiveness are aptly applied to the father, the metal element can properly do its job in all other relationships and aspects of maintaining health.

The energy of the Metal element is about transforming loss and grief into appreciation and acceptance. In balance and healthy, the Metal element contains the ability to find what is unique, valuable, and worthwhile in oneself and life at all moments.

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